Life is a precious gift . . . but how do you share that gift?
The Gift of Life - CAW #9
It was a cold, rainy, wet, miserable afternoon, and the last place Hal Binks wanted to be was up an electrical pole. However, he told himself, that was what they paid him the big roll of quarters to do, and besides, there were a lot of people counting on guys like him to get their electricity turned back on again. But it didn’t make him any warmer, or drier, and it certainly didn’t make him feel any better about his lonely lot in life.
Maybe it was his inattention to what he was doing. Possibly it was one of those flukes that happen to people when they least expect it. More than likely, it was a combination of the two. But the best guess was that it was something he did that he shouldn’t have, or should have don that he didn’t. Either way, there was a blinding flash of blue light, the smell of charred skin in the air, and Hal toppled from the pole, his fall broken by the shrubs growing at its base.
It was only because one of the many passers-by had the wherewithal to call 9-1-1 that Hal was even rescued by paramedics and taken to the hospital. He’d lost consciousness the second that the jolt of energy had hit him, remaining in that state until well after he had been admitted to the emergency ward. The preliminary tests hadn’t shown anything untoward as a result of the accident, and they were moving him to an observation ward. It was only because one of the student doctors had asked to run an EEG on him, ostensibly for the experience that such a test would give the greenhorn doctor, that one of the medical technicians finally discovered an anomaly at all. But the output graph showed that there had been some change to a part of Hal’s brain.
That wasn’t entirely true. It would have been more accurate to say that the graph indicated that Hal’s brain wave patterns fell outside the norm of most people. What those differences meant was beyond the realms of the medical journals that most of the doctors were familiar with, leaving them without a real explanation of why this man exhibited heightened cranial activity in certain areas. That this phenomenon would leave him in an unpredictable situation wasn’t clear, but all the evidence pointed to him being able to return to a normal and productive life. But for the sake of safety, both his and the rest of society, it was determined that he’d be kept in the hospital’s observational facilities for as long as possible.
Hal finally awoke two days later, completely confused about the surroundings he found himself in. He remembered being up that line pole, but nothing else until he regained consciousness in a bed in some kind of institution. His first reaction was one of panic, and he screamed out loud in the hopes of scaring off whatever entity had kidnapped him to this sterile place he was in. The sound of his overly loud cries for help instantly summoned one of the nurses that manned the ward. She had come running, only to find Hal sitting up in his bed intently studying his surroundings, a four-bed ward that he had all to himself. She’d asked him some simple questions as to his name, which town he was in, whether he remembered how he’d gotten to wherever he was, and who they should contact to advise of his current predicament. He had answers for none of them.
Eventually, one of the doctors had visited him, and had asked a lot of the same questions, then had gone on to interview Hal regarding his medical history. He’d filled in as many of the answers as he could, including a few that he hadn’t been able to answer the first time. He knew his name, and had guessed at where he was, but still had no idea of how he’d gotten there. When it came to naming a contact, the only one that he could supply was his older sister. But she lived thousands of miles away, and he had no idea of her phone number, or even what city she lived in. The two hadn’t had any real contact in over ten years, ever since their parents had passed away. In the end, nothing really changed, which resulted in Hal being kept for more observations.
All this attention was more than Hal could take, and he began to seek places of refuge and sanctuary. Of the ones he found, there were two that he found himself returning to, time and time again. One was the cafeteria, where he could sit quietly in a corner and attempt to enjoy a meal, although the nature of hospital food made that a difficult chore. The other was a small courtyard in a secluded corner of the hospital complex that a person would miss if they weren’t specifically looking for it. The design was such that a person could soak up the warmth of the sun while being protected from wind and rain, and Hal seemed to gravitate there as often as he could. On very rare occasions, he might find some other patient there, either when he arrived, or during his time of reclusiveness. But for the most part, he would be completely alone in the little alcove, and he cherished his time away from the intrusive bustle of the medical community he felt trapped by.
It was on one of those rare days when he arrived at the hidden recluse that he found it already populated by a woman about his own age, sitting quietly in contemplation. His first reaction was to turn and leave her to her thoughts, but something inside him drew him into the little shelter. She looked up to acknowledge his presence, then returned to her own world of self-examination. Hal sat quietly in one corner, both wishing to strike up a conversation in order to break the monotony of isolation, and deferring to the woman’s implied need for solitude. It was only after he had settled in to a mind-set of self-indulgence that she broke the silence by vaguely introducing herself.
“Hi,” she opened, “what are you in for?” Her introduction made him feel like he had just been inducted into a penitentiary population.
“Umm, they’re keeping me in here for tests and observation, or something like that. I guess I got zapped by lightning, or an electrical shock. I really don’t remember any of it, and I feel fine. But they still keep me here. How about you? What are you in here for?” He really didn’t want to know the answer, but it was a means of keeping the conversation going, and after all this time of being sequestered, talking to someone human had a definite appeal.
“I’m in for a kidney transplant” she answered his question. “I suffered from renal failure a few years back, and I’ve been on dialysis ever since. But after all those treatments, it isn’t as effective as it once was, so now they’re going to try to give me a new kidney, as soon as they can find a suitable donor.” She looked directly at Hal, and he could see the trepidation inside her at the prospect of an operation. His first reaction was to try and reassure her that it would probably work out just fine. He would have if he could, but he wasn’t convinced either.
They spent the time chatting, with suitable introductions. She was Renee Wentworth, a housewife in her late thirties, the mother of three kids, and married to a bank executive. The marriage had lasted almost twenty years, and was everything she had dreamed it would be, even now. There was a definite element of happy pride in Renee’s voice as she told Hal of her life.
In return, Hal described is own life, and while maybe not as glamourous as hers, he was happy enough, all things considered. At thirty-five, he was still single, mostly from his jaded feelings regarding both marriage and long-term relationships. His parents had divorced when he was in his early teens, and the resulting tensions had left their mark on him. His younger sister had married when she was twenty, and had gone through a messy divorce herself within five years. Again, it had not been an amiable separation. The net result was that Hal had promised himself that he’d never subject himself to any kind of similar situation.
They talked about anything and everything, their mutual incarceration being the common thread. It was a few hours later that Hal became aware that he was both hungry and in no hurry to call an end to their time together. Looking at his watch, he discovered that it was almost supper time, and in an effort to prolong their time together, he suggested to Renee that they consider eating in the cafeteria, to which she readily agreed. The thought of another dietary meal left her with a feeling of being bored with food.
The meal was followed by another couple of hours spent together, both patients enjoying the reprieve from the various medical intrusions of hospital staff. They’d retired to the TV lounge, neither one of them at all interested in watching whatever was on. By the time nine o’clock came around, it was with a sense of reluctance that they made their way back to their wardrooms, and the insistent dispensing of various pills by the nurse. Renee was in the ward next to Hal’s, and he walked her to the door, then bid her a fond good-night. She was in no hurry to acknowledge the end of the day, instead leaning against the door frame in a desperate bid to extend their time together just a little longer. At the insistence of the nurse, they finally admitted that this day was over, and Renee quickly leaned forward, raising her lips to Hal’s, and kissed him softly, gently, and tenderly. As incongruous as their friendship might be, Hal was in no hurry to break from that kiss, wrapping an arm around Renee’s slim waist in an attempt to hold her to him just a little longer.
“Thank you for a wonderful day” Renee whispered softly as they finally parted. “I haven’t felt this relaxed and at ease for so very long. Maybe we can do it again tomorrow?”
“I’ll be looking forward to it,” Hal confessed, “and to seeing you again. Maybe we can sneak out of here right after breakfast and get a coffee down in the cafeteria?” he asked. Her warm smile conveyed her enthusiastic acceptance of his invitation. He kissed her once mere, and felt her tongue sliding across his lips, begging for admittance, and it started his blood to boil.
He dreamed of warm times spent together that night, waking in the morning feeling more rested than he had since he’d been admitted to the hospital. His desire to be with Renee once again became the focus of his thoughts, and the wait until it happened felt like an inconvenience. He’d resented the intrusion of the medical tests every morning, and this morning it was even worse. That reluctance showed in the EEG’s graphical read-out, with the already out-of-range pen marks more pronounced than they’d been before. The technician tried to hide his irritation and worry, but not successfully. The test series was cut short, and Hal enjoyed the respite from being poked and prodded. Soon he was at the door to Renee’s ward, where she joined him quickly, once again greeting him with another soft and tender kiss, her tongue still seeking access to his own with greater insistence. He opened to her without reservation, welcoming her into both his body and his soul. Walking slowly down the corridor, now hand in hand, the two new friends created a space of exclusitivity around themselves as they made their way to the cafeteria. That tight circle even excluded the hot beverages, both of which became cold long before they were consumed. Neither one cared, reserving their entire attention for each other.
Retreating to that hidden courtyard once more, the two medical inmates continued to devote their entire being to each other, inviting and exploring the elements of their individuality, striving to find a common bond that would extend this short dalliance long enough that it might bloom and grow. Renee sat beside Hal in a secluded corner of their refuge, her thigh pressed tightly against his, her shoulder trying to become a part of him as he held her against his chest in a warm and sensual hug. As often as she could, she’d steal just one more kiss from him, finding that each time she did, he opened up to her just a little bit more. That he would allow himself to trust her that much set her heart free on wings of happiness.
And then he touched her, lightly at first, then with a growing sense of want and need that she welcomed and relished in conjunction with her own desires. All thoughts of her husband and children were temporarily banished to the back of her mind. For right now, her whole world of consciousness revolved around this man that had made a claim on her heart, had carried her away from the fear and concerns of her medical limitations, that had shifted her focus from the mundane everyday worries of life into a dreamlike state akin to living in a fairy tale. She felt his hand slide inside her hospital gown as it sought her swelling breast, and her nipple swelled, then became turgid as it greedily welcomed his arrival.
Hal found her breast to be soft yet subtly firm and appealing as his hand wandered over the silky smooth skin of her. He swirled a finger slowly around her areola, then without announcement, flicked it gently across her nipple, receiving a shudder from her body and a moan from her lips for his stimulations. The sound induced his desires to grow to a new height of want, and he forced her tongue back into her own mouth while retaining full contact with it. Their tongues danced back and forth between the two of them, each migration taking them both to a higher plateau of wanton lust. He suddenly realized that their oral connection had resulted in his cock becoming throbbing and hard, with a longing for her touch to soothe its broiling heat. Without a word to interrupt their oral dance of love, he almost wished her to reach down and massage his aching member, and as if by magic, she responded to his silent wish. The feel of her stroking against the bulge in his groin sent shivers up and down its length. He wanted her, all of her, fully and completely. That manifestation of his lust was answered in his movements, his lips replacing his hand on her breast as the now-released hand slid down her belly and began to probe the soft moistness between her legs. She welcomed his touch by spreading her thighs a little further apart, inviting him to explore and stimulate her further.
With Renee’s nipple now captured between his lips, Hal swirled around its edges with his excited tongue, all while beginning to investigate that magical centre of her that existed between the folds of skin of her labia lips. His first light touch on her knotting clit elicited a groan of appreciation from deep inside her throat, her chest heaving even as she pushed the air in her lungs over her vocal chords in an involuntary answer of welcome to his arrival between her legs. The heat of her sex transmitted itself through his fingers, hands, arms and torso, until it spread like wildfire into his groin.
“I want you” was all she whispered. “Can we go somewhere to be alone?”. He wracked his brain to think of somewhere that would assure the privacy they both wanted so desperately. Grabbing her hand, he almost ran to find such a location, finally settling on an empty ward on the second floor. As soon as they were inside, he closed the door, then anchored it in that position with the only thing at hand, a metal-framed chair. It was crude and rudimentary, but effective. Turning back to Renee as she waited for him, he found that she had discarded her hospital gown, and now stood before him naked, her slim feminine body a delight to his eyes. Her hard nipples and the moisture and musky aroma of her sex drew him to her like a moth to flame. In response, he shed his own garment, standing before her with his erection prominently displayed, and her eyes glazed over as she found herself desiring him more and more. As he returned to her waiting arms, his cock flattened itself against her naked abdomen, his heat mingling with her own, fanning the flames of their lust.
In a wordless agreement between them, the two climbed up onto one of the hospital beds, then surrendered themselves to each other’s arms, their lips locked tightly, his hands now squeezing and mangling her breasts while she re-established her grip on his twitching and pulsing cock, feeling the blood push its way along the veins of it. As he rearranged himself over top of her, she welcomed him between her legs, guiding him to her hungry entrance, almost forcing him inside her. It was only then that the first words between them since they’d left the hidden courtyard were uttered.
“Hal, I’m scheduled for that operation tomorrow morning. They say I might not come out of it. For right now, I need to feel loved, cherished, and wanted. Make love to me like I’m the only woman in the world?” she enjoined him. He answered her request with his lips tightly pressed to hers, and his cock slowly sliding into the heated wetness of her sex, him holding her close to his heart. She felt his heartbeat pulsing in his chest, sending the resonance of it deep into her soul, causing her to pull him tighter to her overstimulated body. In that moment, she truly was the only woman in his world, and he did cherish her.
Renee felt Hal’s manhood gently but insistently fill her femininity, capturing and taking not only her body, but also her very essence, and she surrendered to him fully and completely. The pressure of their pubic bones pressing together let her know that she had taken all he had to give, and her muscles contracted in a valiant effort to hold him deep inside her, making him all hers for the rest of their time together. The silky lining of her sex enfolded him like a form-fitting sheath, her heated moisture almost scalding the skin off his cock, the slippery texture inside her making it impossible for him to resist her. With long, slow, and gentle strokes, Hal began to pump himself in and out of Renee’s all-consuming cunt, feeling her rocking hips synchronising with his own. With each stroke to the full depths of her, she grunted at the fullness he provided her, and that became a further stimulation to him. In sympathetic answer,, he began to add his own guttural noises to hers, until they combined their utterances to the combination of their body’s actions.
For an undeterminable length of time, the two danced their tango of love and lust, until Hal became aware that Renee’s breathing had started to become faster, shallower, more strained. He felt her wall’s fluctuating as her vaginal muscles alternately contracted and relaxed on his pounding shaft. As those flutters increased in frequency and intensity, she began to tremble beneath him, her body almost vibrating as her climax established itself, sending the message to him that she had given him the very heart of herself. That realization convinced his balls to lift and tighten, and the pressure of his semen to announce itself at the base of his cock as it readied itself for the inevitable percolation up his shaft and into the very center of her heated sex.
As Renee’s passion swept through every part of her body, she wrapped her legs over Hal’s back and pulled him deep inside her, forcing him as far into her as was physically possible. Despite his best efforts, he found it almost impossible to move his hips, his cock now trapped deep within the belly of his lover. In a final chapter of their impromptu coupling, he found the ability to move just enough to grant his swollen manhood the last of the friction it needed to evacuate itself into Renee’s demanding pussy. The first rope of his cum exploded and burst forth from his cock, spewing with the release of pressure to cover the walls of her love canal, followed by several subsequent spurts of that life-giving substance that originated inside him. With each successive string he deposited inside her, Renee gasped joyously at the receipt of the gift she perceived he’s given her. The warmth of his seed sent her further and further up her precipice of pleasure until she finally attained its peak. Her arrival was announced by the muffled scream of her release, her mouth pressed tightly to the juncture of Hal’s neck and shoulder in an attempt to keep that announcement between the two of them. He felt her teeth pushing forcefully against his skin, the pain mingling with their mutual pleasure, enhancing it for both of them.
With the attainment of their afterglow, both Renee and Hal collapsed into each other’s embrace as their chests heaved in an attempt to regain a semblance of normal breathing. As their strength and focus returned, Hal found himself gazing into Renee’s glassy eyes, subconsciously aware that something undefinable had passed between them, over and above the physical elements of their union. Even though he had no idea of what it was that they had exchanged, its transfer left him with a warm and satisfied sensation. Under any other circumstances, he would have felt like he’d just injected her womb with the beginning of a new life. But this was different in its scope, and even though he felt it was a good thing, he still couldn’t define it, nor did he wish to. Just the understanding that it had happened was enough.
Slowly the two lovers disentangled themselves, while still attempting to hold onto the magic of their lovemaking. For Renee, it was as if she had taken a first step in the fulfilment of a part of her destiny, and she gave silent thanks for the blessing she had received from her lover. As an expression of that thanks, she pulled him to her lips once more, jamming her tongue deep inside him, desperately trying to etch the memory of his taste and his textures in her brain. He gave himself to her fully, allowing her a free reign of his whole body, and granting her an insight to the nature of his soul. The exchange left him feeling like he’d gained more than he’d given, and for that, he felt a real love for this woman that had pleasured him so suddenly.
They spent the rest of that day in each other’s company, sharing their time and their emotions freely with each other, each learning more about the other’s true self, each wordlessly beginning to understand that their coupling was more than just a physical joining. They had shared a part of their souls, their essence, their reason for existing, and that was, for each of them, a small miracle in itself.
As he crawled into his bed after they’d said their final good-nights, it dawned upon Hal that he might have seen Renee for the very last time in her life, and he tried desperately to fight off that feeling of being empty, alone, and lonely, hating its creeping cold darkness as it slowly consumed a part of him that he was reluctant to concede. Before sleep claimed him, he pestered the night nurse to glean an idea of when Renee would be taken out of her ward and off to the operating theatre. She finally broke down and told him, and he promised himself that he’d be out in the hall when it was time for her to go. Sure enough, when the operating nurse pushed the gurney into the hall the next morning, Hal was there at the ward’s door, his face full of concern and a special glow as he gazed into Renee’s eyes. Even through the numbing effects of the sedatives, she saw him, and her heart skipped a beat, even as that thankful smile spread over her face.
“Hey, how you feeling?” he inquired, her anticipated answer meaning more to him than life itself. “You’re going to come out of this just fine, you know. This whole thing’s gonna be a piece of cake. Trust me”, and he leaned over and kissed her softly and gently, but the full impact of his message filled Renee’s heart with hope and faith.
“Promise?” she cajoled. “I guess I should get that in writing . . . but thanks. Coming from you, that means a lot to me. I’ll see you when I wake up again?” Hal gently squeezed her hand in a silent promise that, if it was at all possible, he’d be the first person she’d see when she returned to her ward bed. Then the gurney carrying his lover started its journey down the hall and into an elevator that whisked her away from him. He just stood there watching, as if by some miraculous quirk of fate, his longing would bring her back instantly. His reverie was broken by the arrival of the lab technician that daily took him for the daily battery of tests. Resignedly, he allowed himself to be escorted to the lab, and the endless rounds of testing equipment that told someone more about his body than he ever wanted to know himself.
Today’s tests were a repeat of the same ones he’d endured every morning since his admittance, including a blood test sample, blood pressure measurement and heart rate, several x-rays, a CAT scan, an MRI scan, and the inevitable EEG test. But today, with the results of each test, the technician became more and more restless and disturbed. As he went through the graphs from the EEG, he picked up the phone and punched in several numbers on its keypad.
“Dr. Thurston?” he talked into the receiver. “It’s Bob Bennett down in the lab. I have a patient of yours, Mr. Binks, down here, and I think you might want to look at these test results, sir.” There was silence as the technician listened to the reply to his invitation before he expanded his request. “Sir, the readings today aren’t even close to what we’ve seen all week, from any of the tests. I’d really appreciate it if you’d have a look at them, before I do all of them again. There’s just too much of a change to ignore . . . thank you, Doctor. I’ll be waiting for you.” With that, the technician hung up, sat back, and avoided making eye contact with Hal. It seemed like forever, but eventually the doctor showed up, and immediately began to scan the day’s test result outputs. Another technician entered the lab, unrolling an EEG printout for the first tech to study. His eyes hot up in disbelief.
“Doc, have a look at this EEG roll,” and he laid the graph out on the desk, “and look at Mr. Binks’ print-out from yesterday.” The doctor stared at the two read-outs as though he had no idea of what they were. The technician added a third read-out to the growing reams of paper accumulating on the desk. “That’s Mr Binks today” he was told.
“Are you sure these two didn’t get mixed up?” the doctor demanded.
“Positive,” was the reply, “because that one is from the OR machine, as you can see from the identification mark along the edge. The ones from this lab are time and date stamped. But you have to admit, it’s weird.” The doctor turned and retested Hal’s blood pressure, then checked his heart rate, comparing the results from the earlier readings that were recorded.
“Seventy-three over one-fifteen, and sixty-three for a heart rate? This man should be asleep! Obviously, he isn’t. Have you checked your equipment?”
“No need to, Doc. You got the same results using different equipment. I sure as hell can’t explain it. Can you?”
The doctor continued to study the read-outs, shaking his head slowly the whole time. “It’s almost as if they’d switched bodies” he exclaimed. “It makes no . . . “
His statement was interrupted by the jangle of the phone’s ringing, and the lab technician jumped at the sound, then answered the intruding device. He announced himself to the caller, then listened to the message, and eventually hung up without saying a word. Turning to the other technician, his face almost ashen white, he softly passed on the message.
“That patient you have up in the OR? The one that ‘s in for a kidney transplant? Renee Wentworth? ” He stopped long enough to take a deep breath and let it back out before continuing. “Her kidney’s functioning completely normally this morning! Dr. Prescott’s cancelling the operation, and putting her on intensive monitoring. Maybe someone in this place can explain to me how a kidney that’s been shut down for almost two years can suddenly come back to life?”
Hal sat quietly, feeling totally ignored by all the medical personnel, and thankful for both the peace and quiet, and for the news about Renee. A part of his soul felt like soaring above the clouds with relief and joy, and the slowly emerging smile on his face betrayed his happiness. It was sometime later that he was escorted back to his ward. His journey was rewarded by the sight of Renee sitting beside his bed, fully conscious, her face beaming like a searchlight.
“I heard,” he quietly told her, even before she could say a word, “and I’m so happy for you, Renee. It’s really a miracle, isn’t it? The gift of life, I’d call it.” She openly stood and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him to her and hugging him unabashedly, then kissing him deeply and passionately.
“Hal, I have no idea what happened,” she spoke quietly in awe of her circumstances, “but you’re right. It is a miracle. My kidney’s been shut down for almost two years, and suddenly it comes back like this? I can’t explain it. When I went to bed last night, I really believed that I might die. Today, they’re telling me that I’m as healthy as a horse!” She looked into his eyes, suddenly unable to find that spark of life that she’d seen the previous day when they’d made love.
That night, Hal had a vivid dream that woke him but unlike a nightmare, it didn’t leave him with the usual sense of fear. He began to understand that he’d been given a gift when he’d been struck by that lightning bolt. He’d passed it on to Renee when they’d made love. The question was, who would she pass it on to?
In the lab, Doctor Thurston kept returning to the unexplainable lab results, the questions of their dramatic change still plaguing him. With an air of fatalistic inquisition, he turned to confer with the lab technician.
“Bob, could you do me favour tomorrow, when Hal Binks tests are being done? Would you test him for kidney function? I’ve just got a bad feeling about this . . . “